LumberJocks

Parallel Clamps - Bessey or Jorgensen???

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Crickett posted 01-26-2015 07:06 PM 2826 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Crickett's profile

Crickett

117 posts in 945 days


01-26-2015 07:06 PM

I know this is probably beating a dead horse with this forum topic, but after saving for awhile I’m ready to invest a good amount of money into parallel clamps. I know the undisputed best are the JET brand, but I really don’t think I can go wrong with Jorgensen & Bessey. My money would go further with Bessey/Jorgy’s which is why I’m leaning that way. I’m staying away from the Irwin brand due to bad reviews – marring of the steel/slipping/eventual stripping-rounding of handle threads. Are there other brands to consider that I’m not familiar with?

Given that prices are roughly the same across different lengths, can anyone steer one way or another with Bessey or the Jorgensens? I can’t even begin to express my frustration in missing the Lowes clearance on Bessey clamps last year. What does one brand offer over the other?

Many thanks – Crickett.


28 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#1 posted 01-26-2015 07:19 PM

I guess I would argue that the “undisputed best” is Jet, but on to your question. I use both, and like both but probably prefer the Bessey (Revo’s) over the Jorgy’s. Why, well the Jorgy’s are a little heavier, and the ends of the jaws (away from the bar) are rounded so they won’t sit in that direction on a table. I do like the deeper jaws they have as well as the longer screw in the clamp mechanism, plus the bars are smooth so glue can be cleaned off with a heat gun a little more easily. But the Bessey’s just seem to be a little easier to work with. One thing about the Jorgy’s, if you have a Menard’s nearby they often have some pretty good sales on them…might make them a better deal all around.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Rob's profile

Rob

704 posts in 2536 days


#2 posted 01-26-2015 07:22 PM

Marc Spagnuolo (The Wood Whisperer) did a nice roundup and comparison of clamps a while back. JET has a quick-release trigger and an easier-to-grip handle. The only other noteworthy difference across the top 3 brands that I recall is the jaw size.

If you really want to get the most for your money and you can get by until then, wait for sale. If the lack of clamps is blocking you from getting work done, just buy what you need, as you need it, and buy more when there’s a sale. I missed some sales but set up several Amazon alerts for various brands/sizes using camelcamelcamel.com, and ended up buying several JET clamps on Black Friday.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7176 posts in 2042 days


#3 posted 01-26-2015 07:24 PM

The Groz clamps work well for me.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5181 posts in 2660 days


#4 posted 01-26-2015 07:35 PM

I prefer the Bessys and Bessy Revos….Why you ask..? I think they are the best clamps for me….Don’t know about anyone else….I just know I like them better than anything I’ve had, and they do the job….I have about 60 Bessys of different lengths….One size don’t fit all, so you need more…..People have their preference, and mine are these…...I go by experience, not by what someone says, or gives a review on…...

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View Crickett's profile

Crickett

117 posts in 945 days


#5 posted 01-26-2015 07:49 PM

Interesting post Waho6o9, I’ve never heard of Groz clamps in any magazines/internet articles before. I’d be reluctant to buy many without putting my hands on them first. That said, my first bar clamps I ever had were Jorgy’s and I found them to be bulletproof. I don’t really have any preference on a wood vs. plastic composit handles so that’s not a factor. However the Bessey’s just look damn cool. Can anyone shed light on longterm use with these clamps – and drawbacks after heavy use (i.e. misalignment of the jaws, slipping, ease of retraction)?

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1186 days


#6 posted 01-26-2015 07:52 PM

I have both the older bessey K-bodies and the newer revos. Both great clamps you won’t be disappointed to own.

View RobS888's profile

RobS888

1986 posts in 1310 days


#7 posted 01-26-2015 08:09 PM


I prefer the Bessys and Bessy Revos….Why you ask..? I think they are the best clamps for me….Don t know about anyone else….I just know I like them better than anything I ve had, and they do the job….I have about 60 Bessys of different lengths….One size don t fit all, so you need more…..People have their preference, and mine are these…...I go by experience, not by what someone says, or gives a review on…...

- Rick Dennington


Most of us don’t have the time or money to test every major brand of parallel clamp as you must have to let experience be your guide, so we have to rely on reviews.

What did you do with the other brands that didn’t work for you?

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2405 posts in 2391 days


#8 posted 01-26-2015 08:23 PM

I also have mostly the old style K body clamps, some Revos and some Gross Stabil.

They all work well, however the Bessey is my preference – I have about 80 in various sizes ranging from the 12” to the 96”.

I have found any of this style of clamp will vastly reduce your clamping time, especially when squaring up frames, etc.

I did not see the Groz clamps before, the handles look good on them. I had to wrap the old K style handles with hockey tape to help with grip when tightening. the new Revos are easier to grip.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2893 posts in 1714 days


#9 posted 01-26-2015 08:35 PM

I have about 40 K-body Revos and about a dozen Jorgensen cabinetmasters.

I prefer the cabinet masters by a VERY large margin.

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

View JayT's profile

JayT

4785 posts in 1676 days


#10 posted 01-26-2015 08:36 PM

I have Jorgensens and like them very much. I have used other brands, but don’t have long enough experience with them to voice an opinion.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View ShaneA's profile (online now)

ShaneA

6474 posts in 2064 days


#11 posted 01-26-2015 08:52 PM

Of the Jet, Bessey, and Woodriver parallel clamps I have…I prefer Jet. The quick release is nice, plus I find them easier to engage.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#12 posted 01-26-2015 09:18 PM

Can anyone shed light on longterm use with these clamps – and drawbacks after heavy use (i.e. misalignment of the jaws, slipping, ease of retraction)?

- Crickett

Some of my older clamps are Bessey K bodies, and of the 8 the only thing that’s damaged on them is some cracked plastic on the fixed head of one (I guess I dropped it, don’t know for sure). Mechanically they are all very sound, and nothing has broken. But I also have some Jorgy’s that are quite possibly as old (I bought them second hand) and they are just as good, no damage, no mechanical issues. I’m not sure how old the K bodies are I mentioned, but I think I got them probably 12+ years ago. For the specific stuff you asked: none of them have misalignment or slipping problems. The Jorgy’s are hard to get the sliding head to move sometimes, but that also happens on my newer ones. The older Bessey’s do seem to get a little stiff in turning the handle, especially when you’re trying to really put the torque to it. I tried putting lubricating the screws with several different substances (oil, paste wax, and graphite) and none of to seemed to help.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1102 posts in 1511 days


#13 posted 01-26-2015 10:00 PM

I have Jet, Bessey, and Peachtree brand clamps. I wouldn’t say there is a perfect clamp out of the pack. Here are my thoughts on each one.
  • Jet (my review) – The Jets are great and do a phenominal job. More than half my parallel clamp collection are Jets. The trigger is both good and bad and does take a little getting used to. Handle is great but the plastic is not as comfortable as the composite materials used on the Bessey K Body REVO. The positionable foot is also very helpful when setting the clamp down on an assembly work surface for use. Worth noting that Walter Meier has had 50% off Jet parallel clamp sales on 2 Black Fridays in a row. Not sure if that means that history will repeat itself but Black Friday is a bit aways.
  • Bessey K Body REVO – I have a lot of these as well. Awesome clamp and it does a great job. I particular like the multi-faceted bar design and the handle. Smaller clamp head than the Jet and Jorgensen. Not a big fan of the plastic slide covers thou
  • Jorgensen Cabinetmaster – I shy’d away from these because I didn’t like the maple handle. It felt like something that would someday slip on me. The newer clamps feature a composite cushy plastic material, but there are what appears to be protrusions that don’t feel the best in hand. I’m also concerned that these clamps have a smooth clamp bar (like the Irwins), unlike the Jet, Bessey, and Peachtree/Groz/classic K Body.
  • Peachtree (my review (discontinued) – Clones of the original Bessey K Body but with different handles. The Peachtree went up in price since I bought them but are still a good bargain IMO.

They all do the job, but at different price points and sizes (which plays a factor based on the clamping application). Properly cut joinery won’t require crushing pressure. The bigger and heavier, the easier it is to position on a work onto it and clamp up. The smaller and lighter the easier it is to work with when you have to position and tighten the clamp off a work surface. I like having a range for my collection to pick the right ones. If I were to add more, I’d probably look to get a mix of longer length Jets (40”) if they have another sale this year. If I had to pick a good well-rounded option, I’d say Bessey K Body REVOs. I love the handle and it is a good mid-weight.

-- paxorion

View Rob's profile

Rob

229 posts in 2452 days


#14 posted 01-26-2015 10:13 PM

I have Jorgensens and have no complaints. I have no experience with Bessey, Jet or Groz to compare to but I chose Jorgensens because they were a few $$ less in price at the time I was buying them.

View Crickett's profile

Crickett

117 posts in 945 days


#15 posted 01-27-2015 12:09 AM

Thanks for all of the responses. One of the major draw-backs I read regarding Irwin was the very soft steel used in the bar, which when clamped under a lot of torqe, tends to mar the surface and you have to file this out later. They also seem to be unneccessarily heavy in weight when compared to other, and the bar is smooth rather than machined with ridges to hold the sliding head in place. I’d also like to find out from those that have used Jorgy’s and Besseys if there is any hardness difference regarding the clamping faces/pads. Max clamping pressure is also irrelevant to me because an advertised clamping pressure of 1500lbs is something that should never be needed. I don’t think you can get a better clamp than the Jets, but you’re going to pay a premium for them for sure.

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com